State Success Story

The Hawaii Coastal Program improved and implemented local building standards to help coastal communities stand strong against the wind.To learn more, please click here.


At the Agencies

New U.S. regional sea level scenarios developed by NOAA and its partners will give coastal communities better, more localized data to help them plan for and adapt to the risk of rising sea levels to their economies and infrastructure. Sea level rise is occurring worldwide, but not at the same rate everywhere. Differences will also likely continue in the future, so decision-makers need local information to assess their community's vulnerability. These new scenarios integrate updated global sea level rise scenarios with regional factors, such as changes in land elevations and ocean circulation, that influence sea level regionally.   Read more

NOAA announced today (Jan 19) a new National Estuarine Research Reserve, the 29th in the system, and the first in more than six years. Estuarine reserves protect a section of an estuary and provide a living laboratory to explore and understand the important areas where rivers meet the sea. The reserve will be managed in partnership with the State of Hawai'i through the University of Hawaii's Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).
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NASA is hosting a media day on Feb. 8 in O'ahu, Hawaii, to spotlight two field campaigns that seek to unlock some of the mysteries behind two of Hawaii's treasured natural resources: coral reefs and volcanoes. This month, scientists begin collecting data on coral reef health and volcanic emissions and eruptions with NASA's Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) preparatory airborne mission onboard the high-altitude ER-2 aircraft. Starting Feb. 10, NASA will fly its Glacier and Ice Surface Topography Interferometer (GLISTIN) on a Gulfstream III aircraft to observe lava flow patterns at Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island.
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In the News
The muddying of coastal waters by climate change could drastically increase levels of neurotoxic mercury in sea life, contaminating food supplies. Shifting rainfall patterns may send 10 to 40 percent more water filled with dissolved bits of organic debris into many coastal areas by 2100. The material can cloud the water, disrupting marine ecosystems by shifting the balance of microbes at the base of the food web, new laboratory experiments suggest. That disruption can at least double methylmercury concentrations in microscopic grazers called zooplankton, researchers report January 27 in Science Advances.
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In the global effort to mitigate carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, all options are on the table -- including help from nature. Recent research suggests that healthy, intact coastal wetland ecosystems such as mangrove forests, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows are particularly good at drawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it for hundreds to thousands of years.
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In the States and Regions 
East Coast 

A key mitigation feature of the $706 million Savannah harbor deepening project is being revised with a plan that employs scarecrows and drones to keep birds off a potentially hazardous site. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its new plan recently for disposing of cadmium-laden sediment dredged from the bottom of the river last month.
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More than one million cubic yards of sludge - mud, silt, sand, shell and other material - will be scooped from the bottom of the Baltimore Harbor over the next several months to maintain depth and berth required for the port's shipping channels. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the $14.1 million contract for the work to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock of Oak Brook, Ill., last fall.
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Gulf Coast 

Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority gave final approval Wednesday (Jan. 18) to a plan for spending $812 million of federal Restore Act money on coastal restoration projects in Houma, the Lake Charles area and across the coast. The Restore Act fund receives 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines paid by BP and its drilling partners stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
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A new study by Louisiana scientists indicates that exposure to salt water leaves coastal wetlands less capable of battling sea level rise. The paper, produced by scientists at the Baton Rouge-based Water Institute of the Gulf, has implications for Terrebonne and Lafourche, where freshwater marshes have long suffered erosion partly because of saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico.
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will study long-term fixes to three areas of Pacifica that have been hammered by powerful winter storms, officials announced Wednesday.
The analysis is a key first step in a process that could result in the agency performing upward of $6.2 million in repairs, with the federal government paying for much of the work, said City Manager Lorie Tinfow.
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Great Lakes

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this month announced it will begin routine depth maintenance in the Grand River in Fairport Harbor later this year. It's an ongoing operation, officials report, necessary to maintain the depths required for large commercial vessels to enter and maneuver about the port.
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A New York Sea Grant award of just over $135,000 will support a two-year study led by State University of New York at Fredonia Environmental Sciences Professor Sherri Mason, assisted by Fredonia Biology Assistant Professor Courtney Wigdahl-Perry, which will assess environmental impacts of plastics pollution in the Great Lakes. It's no surprise that Dr. Mason is at the helm of the study, "Determining Degradation Rates, Products and Impacts for Prominent Plastics in Freshwater Environs." She pioneered the first-ever Great Lakes plastics pollution survey in 2012. In that landmark report, she concluded that tiny plastic beads commonly found in facial soap, toothpaste and other consumer products are spreading throughout the world's largest freshwater ecosystem, where they can be consumed by fish and other aquatic life and ultimately move up the food chain.
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Announcements & More   
Save the Date: Workshop on Best Management Practices for Atlantic Offshore Wind Facilities and Marine Protected Specie 
BOEM's Office of Renewable Energy Programs is hosting a three-day "Best Management Practices Workshop for Atlantic Offshore Wind Facilities" on
March 7- 9. The workshop will discuss best management practices for preventing, reducing, and monitoring impacts to marine protected species from the development of offshore wind on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.
The workshop will take place at: NOAA Fisheries 
Building 4 (Science Building) 
1315 East-West Highway 
Silver Spring, MD 20910
For more details, please click here.

DOI's latest NEWSWAVE Fall 2016/Winter 2017 issue was released January! 
To read the most recent news from the U.S Department of Interior: Ocean, Great Lakes and Coasts, click here. 

Save the Date: Thursday, Feb 9 Northeast Regional Engagement Workshop for the 4th National Climate Assessment

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) is in development. This quadrennial report fulfills the requirements of the Global Change Research Act and is also part of a broader sustained assessment process. Opportunities to engage with NCA4 activities may sometimes overlap with sustained assessment engagement as well. To learn more about NCA4 activities and process, check out the NCA4 Assess  page. If you have any questions, please reach out to Katherine Weingartner at 
OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2016  

Title: Protecting our Marine Treasures, Sustainable Finance Options for U.S. Marine Protection Areas       
Date & Time:  Thu, February 9, 2017, 1pm - 2pm
Presenter(s): Brian E. Baird, Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee External Financing Subcommittee Chair, Director, Ocean & Coastal Program, The Bay Institute and Aquarium of the Bay and Dr. Martha Honey, Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee External Financing Subcommittee Vice-Chair, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Center for Responsible Travel, CREST 
Title: Following my Dreams 
Date & Time: Thu, February 23, 2017, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Speaker: Sandra A. Cauffman (Earth Science Division Deputy Director NASA Headquarters, GOES-R Deputy System Program Director)

Title: NOAA Marine Debris Program-funded Microplastic Research and Current Research Priorities 
Date & Time: Thu, April 13, 1pm - 2 pm
Speakers: Carlie Herring, Research Coordinator, Marine Debris Division, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration
Seminars are open to the public. For remote access, location, abstracts and more, visit the OneNOAA Science Seminar Calendar at: 
Seminars are posted in Eastern Time and subject to changes without notice; please check the web page for the latest seminar updates.   


The Voice of the Coastal States and Territories on Ocean, Coastal & Great Lakes Affairs


The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent or reflect the views of CSO.